Whiskey in the Jar

TITLE: Whiskey in the Jar
AUTHOR: Unknown
CATEGORY: Traditional, Public Domain
KEYWORDS: robbery, prison, love, trial, punishment, escape, outlaw
EARLIEST DATE: 1855 (broadside, Murray Mu23-y1:137)

images“Throughout history outlaw heroes have served to provide oppressed people with dignity during their subjugation. Swashbuckling, romantic figures, they represented traditional justice as opposed to the self-interest and inequity of the state. Set in 17th Century Ireland, Whiskey in the Jar is the story of Redmond O’Hanlon–a true-life highwayman who relied more on daring, wits, and cunning than he did on bloodshed to accomplish his goals.” (from michaeldkerrigan.com

It has become the signature song of the Dubliners and dozens of different recordings are available from them as well as other artists.

OTHER TITLES AND VARIATIONS:

  • Abercrombie Mountain
  • Gilgarry Mountain
  • Kilgary Mountain
  • Kilgarry Mountain
  • Kilkenny Mountain
  • Sporting Molly
  • There’s Whiskey in the Jar

RECORDINGS:

YOUTUBE VIDEO:

YOUTUBE AUDIO: download
LYRIC & CHORD PRO CHART: download
LYRIC & CHORD PRO CHART:  download
BONUS YOUTUBE VIDEO: The Dubliners

Whiskey In the Jar

As I was a going over Gilgarra Mountain,
I met Colonel Pepper
and his money he was counting
I drew forth my pistol
and I rattled my saber
Saying “stand and deliver,
for I am a bold deceiver”
Musha aringum duram da
Whack fol de daddy-o Whack fol de daddy-o
There’s whiskey in the jar

The shining yellow coins did sure look bright & jolly
I took the money home
and I gave it to my Molly
She vowed and she swore
that she never would deceive me
But the devil’s in the women
and they never can be easy
Musha aringum duram da
Whack fol de daddy-o Whack fol de daddy-o
There’s whiskey in the jar

When I awoke between the hrs. of six & seven
Guards were standing ’round me
in numbers odd and even
I flew to my pistols,
but alas I was mistaken
I fired off my pistols
and a prisoner was taken
Musha aringum duram da
Whack fol de daddy-o Whack fol de daddy-o
There’s whiskey in the jar

They put me in jail without a judge or jury
For robbing Colonel Pepper
in the morning so early
They didn’t take my fist
so I knocked down the sentry
And I bid a long farewell
to that cold penitentiary
Musha aringum duram da
Whack fol de daddy-o Whack fol de daddy-o
There’s whiskey in the jar

Some take delight in fishing and rowin’
Others take delight in carriage a-rollin’
I take delight in the juice of the barley
Courting pretty women
in the morning so early
Musha aringum duram da
Whack fol de daddy-o Whack fol de daddy-o
There’s whiskey in the jar

SOURCES:

  • Folk Song Index: A Comprehensive Guide to the Florence E. Brunnings Collection, Florence E. Brunnings, Garland Publishing, Inc., New York and London 1981—Amazon Books
  • Folk Songs of North America (in the English Language), Alan Lomax, Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City, New York 1960—Amazon Books

NOTICE: I’m not the best guitar player or vocalist, but no one loves these songs more than I do. The tune and lyrics are in the public domain unless otherwise noted. The recording © copyright 2013 by Stephen Griffith and may be used by permission of the copyright holder. The variation of the song I’m posting is the version I perform and is not exactly replicating the sources cited, but is always in the same song family. If anyone has more details about this song, or believes I’ve stated something in error, please let me know. I’m also open to suggestions to improve the site. Thanks. sgg

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